Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Slippin' and Slidin'

If you haven't guessed already, I just love HIPAA. One of the best things about it is that is a force so powerful that it can only be used for good, or evil. The evil in this case being our latest installment in "HIPAA made me do it!"

It seems that a school board memeber has a wife who is involved in the union. Some folks feel that it would be a conflict of interest if Mr. Steel gets his health insurance through his wife, and is allowed to vote on contract issues that affect coverage. It would be pretty simple, but terribly boring, if Mr. Steel just recused himself from the vote, but he is saved from obscurity by refusing and by claiming he can't disclose if he is covered by his wife's policy because of HIPAA.

Mr. Flagg's been trying to learn if Mr. Steel gets health benefits from the school district through his wife. Mr. Steel has declined to release what he calls his "wife's personal information."

"Right now, we have been unable to get it because [Mr.] Steel has refused or ignored," Mr. Flagg said. "We disagree that it is a protected record under HIPAA."

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, enacted in 1996, is a federal law intended to protect the disclosure of personal medical information.

If Mr. Steel does receive the health insurance, he would not be permitted under Ohio law to vote on the teachers' contract.

If we had an award to give for creative HIPAA abuse, Mr. Steel would certainly get it. We could have a little award ceremony, and give out a gilded hippo.

No comments: